The Jersey Evening Post on 30th May reported that the chief executive of a Jersey finance firm has been banned from the industry after acting with a ‘serious lack of integrity’ and ‘incompetence of the most serious kind’. The Royal Court rejected David Jonathan Francis’s appeal against the decision of the Jersey FSC to publicly criticise his business activities as chief executive and a major shareholder of Horizon Trustees (Jersey) Limited and to bar him from practice.
Breaking News on 30th May reported that a psychic turned financier – astrologer and tarot reader, Simon Gold, 53 – is facing trial accused of fraud and money-laundering offences. Mr Gold is best known for his firm Astrology Ireland and has billed himself as “Ireland’s Leading 7th Generation Psychic Astrologer & Tarot Master”.
Gowling WLG, in the May 2018 edition of its Finance Litigation newsletter, reported on a case where the UK Court of Appeal has found that a debtor’s fears of extradition did not obviate the need for him to be cross-examined in person as to his assets under a worldwide freezing injunction. In the case, the bank involved had made out a strong case against the respondent that he had been involved in a massive international fraud and was concealing evidence about relevant assets. The public interest in the court giving maximum practical effect to the freezing order it had granted was strong.
OFAC DESIGNATES IRANIAN ENTITIES ON SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES, AS WELL AS 5 INDIVIDUALS
On 30th May, the US Treasury announced that OFAC had designated 2 Iranian entities for committing serious human rights abuses on behalf of the Government of Iran, as well as 3 leaders of one of these entities, the Ansar-e Hizballah organisation. OFAC also designated an entity that has operated information or communications technology that facilitates monitoring or tracking that could assist or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government. OFAC also designated 2 individuals for engaging in censorship activities that prohibit, limit, or penalise the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, and one individual for acting for or on behalf of an entity engaged in such censorship activities. These designations, it says, come in the wake of recent protests by the Iranian people and the regime’s subsequent brutal crackdown. Included in the new designations is Abdulali Ali-Asgari, current Director General of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) – itself already designated – and has acted on behalf of the organisation.
At the same time, OFAC has made amendments to the Iran sanctions entries relating to AL-BILAD ISLAMIC BANK FOR INVESTMENT AND FINANCE P.S.C, and AL-NASER AIRLINES (a.k.a. ALNASER AIRLINES),
OFAC AMENDS 1 ENTRY ON ITS UKRAINE/RUSSIA SANCTIONS LISTS
In its announcement of 30th May, OFAC also announced the amendment of one entry on its Ukraine/Russia sanctions list – DART AIRLINES (a.k.a. DART AIRCOMPANY; a.k.a. DART UKRAINIAN AIRLINES; a.k.a. TOVARYSTVO Z OBMEZHENOYU VIDPOVIDALNISTYU ‘DART’; a.k.a. “DART, LLC”; a.k.a. “DART, TOV”).
On 29th May, Forbes produced an article which starts by pointing out that the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) processes about 39,000 export licence applications annually – about 10,000 are in the firearms and related items categories and of these, about 6,000 are for items that will move to the Commerce Control List (CCL) — including the vast majority of non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms under .50 calibre, and their ammunition. It then outlines the advantages and disadvantages for businesses of the changes. The two main issues it highlights are keeping noise suppressors (commonly if incorrectly known as silencers — the noise made by a firearm can be suppressed, but not silenced) on the USML; and automatic firearms will remain on the USML even though manufacturers commonly produce both automatic and semi-automatic firearms on the same line, or using the same parts.
Star Online on 30th May reported that Malaysia’s scandal-plagued state investment fund 1MDB has a $36 million bond coupon payment that may still be due this month. With the company unable to repay debt, the government has said it will honor 1MDB’s obligations as it had done since April 2017. The article provides a Q&A on what you need to know about the fund’s path to insolvency and who else, apart from the government, could be saddled with the cost.
CONFRONTING THE GLOBAL FORCED MIGRATION CRISIS
A Report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Task Force on the Global Forced Migration Crisis was published on 29th May. The size and scope of the global forced migration crisis are unprecedented. Almost 66 million people worldwide have been forced from home by conflict. If recent trends continue, this figure could increase to between 180 and 320 million people by 2030. CSIS convened a diverse task force in 2017 to study the global forced migration crisis. This report is a result of those findings.
RUSSIAN CARGO CARRIERS ARE SET TO BEAR THE BRUNT OF NEW REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED BY THE US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Loadstar has reported on 29th May that Russian cargo carriers are set to bear the brunt of new requirements imposed by the US DoT in a tit-for-tat response to Russia’s “failure” to grant overflight rights to US airlines. In a filing the DoT said AirBridgeCargo, Aeroflot and Yakutia had to file service schedules and details on equipment, frequencies, airports and flight times by 30th May.
FUTURE PROOFING YOUR CONTRACTS – ‘ANTI-ORAL VARIATION’ CLAUSES REQUIRE EVEN MORE THOUGHT
On 29th May, Reed Smith published a briefing about a UK Supreme Court decision – Rock Advertising Limited v MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited – which has provided further certainty in the area of no oral variation /modification clauses, albeit in doing so it has overturned an earlier decision of the Court of Appeal
LATVIA PROBES WHETHER RUSSIAN MONEY FLOWS USED TO MEDDLE IN EUROPE
Reuters claimed an exclusive with a story on 29th May that Latvia is investigating whether its banks acted as conduits for Russian funds used to interfere in elections and politics elsewhere, after it received a warning from the US, officials are said to have told Reuters. The ministers did not give details of which cases were being investigated but 3 senior Latvian officials said that one concerned the movement of funds from Russia through a Latvian bank to support an attempted coup in 2016 in Montenegro.
HIGH-VALUE VAT FRAUD CASE SEES 5 ARRESTED IN CHINA
Shanghai Daily in its 30th May edition reported that 5 suspects have been arrested in one of the largest VAT fraud cases in Shanghai in recent years, with another 10 being detained, police said. The suspects allegedly issued fake VAT invoices with a total face value of over $470 million to over 100 companies around the country beginning in March 2017. The invoices in question were issued from over 40 companies registered in Shanghai, mostly to businesses related to finance, environmental technology and construction, according to police.
33 TAIWANESE TELECOM FRAUD SUSPECTS CHARGED
Focus Taiwan on 29th May reported that 33 Taiwanese nationals involved in a cross-border telecom scam ring in Europe that targeted Chinese citizens have been indicted on charges of organized crime and fraud. They were part of a 91-member fraud gang repatriated from Croatia this year. Members of the gang were arrested in January by Croatian police, who found that they had been running similar telecoms fraud scams in Slovenia before moving to Croatia about a month previously. Prosecutors found that the fraud ring had accrued illegal assets in 4 months by making more than 45,000 scam calls to China.
ARMENIAN TYCOON’S BUSINESSES PROBED FOR TAX FRAUD
Azatutyun in Armenia on 29th May reported that the National Security Service (NSS) confirmed that it has launched a tax evasion investigation into Armenia’s largest retail chain controlled by Samvel Aleksanian, a wealthy businessman representing the former ruling Republican Party (HHK) in parliament. Aleksanian, 49, is one of Armenia’s richest men who has long effectively controlled lucrative imports of sugar, cooking oil and other basic foodstuffs. He has had close ties with the country’s former leaders, notably former President Serzh Sarkisian. The latter still heads the HHK.
CHINESE POLICE BUST $47 MILLION PURPORTED BLOCKCHAIN PYRAMID SCHEME
CCN on 29th May reported that Chinese law enforcement has dismantled a pyramid scheme purporting to be blockchain project in yet another crackdown on faux crypto-based fraud. A gang of over 10 suspects involved in the pyramid scheme has been arrested by police in Jinan, the capital city of the Shangdong province in eastern China. The promoters of the scheme also used buzzwords used by the Chinese government in addressing and acknowledging the decentralized technology, claiming to be a “blockchain” and “big data” company with significant potential for growth. Other terms used include “Western Development”, “Poverty Alleviation” and “One Belt and One Road”, a report revealed.
SWISS BANK BCP SAYS HALTS ALL NEW BUSINESS WITH IRAN
On 29th May, Reuters reported that Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) has suspended new transactions with Iran and is winding down activities with the country after US President Donald Trump’s pullout from the nuclear deal with Tehran.
LAW SOCIETY GETS GREEN LIGHT TO INTERVENE IN PRIVILEGE BATTLE
The Law Society Gazette on 29th May reported that the Law Society’s request to intervene in a forthcoming appeal centring on legal professional privilege has been granted. The case, between the SFO and mining company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), could become a crucial test of what constitutes privileged material.
UK – EXPORT OF MILITARY OR DUAL USE GOODS, SERVICES OR TECHNOLOGY: SPECIAL RULES
On 29th May, the Department for International Trade reminded one that you must have a licence to supply anything on the UK strategic export control lists to someone based outside the UK (except for exporting most ‘dual use’ items to EU countries). The media release goes on to provide further information on licences, training etc.
CANADA PROHIBITS CHINESE ACQUISITION OF AECON ON NATIONAL SECURITY GROUNDS
On 29th May, Dentons reported that the Canadian Government has prohibited the $1.5 billion acquisition of Canadian construction company Aecon Group Inc, by China Communications Construction Company International Holding Limited (CCCC), one of the world’s largest engineering and construction firms, for national security reasons. The first major transaction that has been blocked by the Trudeau Government since it came to office in October 2015. The federal Cabinet must have concluded that the combination of CCCC’s status as a state-owned enterprise (SOE) and Aecon’s work on critical infrastructure made the acquisition a material risk to Canada’s national security.
DRIVERS HID CASH IN ANIMAL FEED AND ATTEMPTED TO EXPORT FROM UK
A news release from the NCA on 29th May reported that 4 men have been jailed for trying to smuggle almost £1.5 million cash out of the UK hidden in sacks of chicken feed. Polish nationals Mariusz Ancygier, 28, and Mariusz Maciag, 38, were stopped by Border Force officers at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Folkestone in 11 November 2015. Their van was searched and inside the sacks of feed, which were allegedly destined for a zoo in Poland, officers found vacuum sealed packets of notes. The total cash recovered was £980,000. Both men were arrested on suspicion of possessing criminal property. 8 days later a van destined for the same zoo was stopped at the Folkestone terminal. Again, it was loaded with animal feed. This time £500,000 cash was found inside the sacks, which had been opened and glued back together.
DARK WEB BUSINESS SOLD POTENTIALLY LETHAL DRUGS FENTANYL AND CARFENTANYL TO CUSTOMERS ACROSS THE UK AND WORLDWIDE
A news release from the NCA on 29th May reported that 3 men have admitted running a dark web business selling the potentially lethal drugs fentanyl and carfentanyl to customers across the UK and worldwide. Jake Levene, 22, Lee Childs, 45, and Mandy Christopher Lowther, 21, mixed the drugs with bulking agents and then posted them to customers throughout the UK as well as the US, Germany, Norway, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Singapore, Holland and Spain. The trio set up a up a business ‘UKBargins’ on the dark web and turned over £163,474 during the indictment period. Their period of activity coincided with a spike in deaths where toxicology reports showed the drugs were present. The organised crime group sold 2,853 items to 443 customers worldwide with 172 in the UK. 6 people identified from the UK customer lists are known to have died from fentanyl related deaths, although it cannot be said with certainty the fentanyl they took was supplied by Levene, Childs and Lowther.
US CUSTOMS: FIGHTING THE OPIOID SCOURGE
In the latest edition of the US Customs and Border Protection’s online Frontline magazine, an article deals with CBP attempts to stem the flow of dangerous opioids. In 2016, more than 42,000 people in the US died from opioid overdoses – more than any other year on record, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The toll continues to rise today, claiming, on average, the lives of 91 Americans every single day.
INDIANAPOLIS CAR DEALER CHARGED IN $7 MILLION INTERNATIONAL FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
On 29th May, Baker McKenzie reported that an Indianapolis business owner, Tochukwu Nwosisi, 47, owner of used car dealership, has been arrested and charged with participating in a scheme that defrauded investors from more than 20 countries out of at least $7 million. 5 other individuals from outside of Indiana were previously indicted in the case in February. Investigators say some of the individuals falsely portrayed themselves as agents of New York-based JPMorgan Chase and North Carolina-based Branch Banking & Trust Corp. to make fraudulent investment deals.
IMPLEMENTATION APPRAISAL: REGULATION 98/2013 ON THE MARKETING AND USE OF EXPLOSIVES PRECURSORS
On 29th May, the EU Parliament Think Tank published a report. It explains that explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HME). The Regulation since September 2014, has 2 general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HME and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate uses. The Regulation establishes a system of restrictions and controls on a number of explosives precursors with the aim of limiting the general public’s access to these substances. The Regulation also establishes an obligation for economic operators to report suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts of explosives precursors. Evidence collected through the Commission’s evaluation and stakeholder consultation confirms the existence of significant challenges related to the application of the regulation. In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new Regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment and an evaluation.
SOUTH AMERICA: RISING CONCERNS OVER MARITIME SECURITY
Control Risks on 29th May carried a report that says that although maritime risks in South America are less conspicuous than in the high-risk areas, over the past year Control Risks has observed the emergence of subtle new security concerns. These trends are likely to be consolidated and in some cases will intensify over the coming years. Examples cited include attacks on commercial assets, increased drug trafficking, the problems of Venezuela, and unrest in the Amazon region.